World Cup Tackles Controversy in Rio

Banners and signs litter the streets of Rio de Janeiro with “Fifa go Home” slogans as concerns with youth unemployment throughout Brazil reach a formidable 15.6%. The youth are being forced to make money on the streets due to lack of job prospects, all the while, the government is spending “too much” on the upcoming sporting event. The public feel the problem lies in education and homelessness and the government should spend the available money more wisely. 

According to the PRI, a street selling entrepreneur in the favela Michel Oliveira says “the problem starts even before they begin looking for jobs: with education.” However, Ernst & Young anticipate that overall the World Cup will be of benefit to Brazil, making it sustainable.

They explain the positive reasons to be:

  • The World Cup itself is to create R$112.79 billion (RM166.83 billion) to the Brazilian economy
  • Predictions that Brazil’s economy will “snowball”, offering a return of five times investment

A significant amount of doubt has set in…

Despite this positive view from E&Y, controversy has been sparked by a report by Press TV. The Press TV report today sees teaching activists allegedly blocking the main roads of Rio during rush hour in an attempt to ignite high tensions in traffic and congestion where the World Cup will be held next month. Other critics say “the money being spent on the sport event should be invested in better health, education services, transportation, and housing for Brazilians

FMT News also explained when Korea co-hosted the World Cup with Japan in 2002; tourism was the same as 2001. In a similar light Dennis Coates of University of Maryland supports the argument, claiming that tourism does not increase dramatically with such big events like the World Cup.

Will it really be “The Cup of all Cups”?

In a move to go all out maximising expenditure with a view to also maximize return, the president Dilma Rousseff assures the World Cup to be a chief performer aiding the stabalisation of Brazil’s education and unemployment sector. FMT News says he promises this to be a "Copa das Copas" (the Cup of all Cups) utilising all available resources. Brazil has spent almost five billion dollars on 12 renovated or new stadiums including one stadium alone which received a four hundred million investment; in a region argued to have zero notable football teams.

Brazil, which boasts the world’s seventh largest economy, is still ranked among the 35 worst education systems worldwide by the World Economic Forum. Without proper investment in education, how can the country improve the job prospects and living standards of the new generations? It is apparent that the government should focus more heavily on the deep rooted problems of its country before overspending on a sporting event that has no real guarantee of making a long term positive impact on the economy.